I apologize for being a day late with this... a bit of a State Fair hangover.
In past years, for the last posting I've either listed a wrap-up of thoughts, or waxed nostalgic and said good-bye for another year. In creating this entry in my head, I wanted to do something different. Considering that My-Sugar-Na and I went to the Fair twice on Sunday sandwiched around some extreme car parking, I was thinking of just recapping that day similar to how I did after Crazy Grazin' Day (we went here, ate that, saw that, parked these, ate that). Brilliant writing, no doubt, but I did that last week.
Then my topic became crystal clear while at the Fair on Sunday evening.
It actually started Sunday morning. My-Sugar-Na and I arrived just before 9:00 AM with the express intent of eating breakfast (Side note; another rant I had considered discussing is the absolute dearth of good breakfast at the Fair. Last year, the Machine Shed pancakes were horrible, and there were very few other options that didn't include eggs. I know attendance is very low in the mornings, but can't someone at least ACT like the patrons that are there early deserve some good food, too?)
After walking around looking for breakfast, we settled on the Starlite Cafe. We sat down and ordered from the menu (so far so good) and soon the waitress came back and said that they had run out of pancakes, and offered French Toast as an alternate. I accepted, but French Toast is dipped in egg, isn't it?
She delivered a very lukewarm French Toast and little plastic containers of ice cold butter and syrup. So not only didn't I get what I wanted, the replacement was horrible. I only ate half of it.... I just couldn't choke it down (at least the sausage and bacon was decent). Maybe the pancakes wouldn't have been very good either, but that is what I wanted and they were out. I decided to walk to Lefty's Milk Barn for some Cherry Vanilla, and guess what was the only flavor that was sold out? Yup.
So the day goes on, we walk through an empty Fairground (I love the Fair in the mornings almost as much as I love walking up the lit Grandstand Ave at night), park cars, and go back to the Fair around 6:30 PM.
My-Sugar-Na wanted two things, a pork chop (either on a stick or on a sandwich) and a chocolate cream puff from Starlite, which she had seen on the menu when we were there for breakfast. I had three things on my hit list... a Charley's Italian Sausage (which is - sorry Millie's - the best sausage at the Fair), the El Jefe Mexican Corn (how can anyone eat it dipped in butter when you can get the cob dipped in butter, rolled in mayo and parmesan cheese, then topped with a little cayenne?) and some cheese curds (which I never actually got to).
Since Charley's and EL Jefe are near the 84th & Greenfield entrance and also near each other, my wife watched me eat my sausage and corn, and seeing how much I was savoring it, was waiting impatiently to get her pork chop.
We walked to the Pork Shoppe and the sign said that they were out of the pork chops on a stick. A trend continuing, and she had the sandwich. The more we walked around, the more vendors had "sold out" on some of their offerings. I had this sinking feeling about those chocolate cream puffs.
And I was right... no chocolate cream puffs were available at the Starlite (and at this point, I am starting to get upset about this). But being tired from 11 days of parking cars and four separate trips inside the Fair, we decide to sit and listen the pianos duel until their set ended at 8:00 PM and started the trek home. We decided to walk through the Expo Center (the dog treat booth wasn't sold out, so I spent My-Sugar-Na's chocolate cream puff money on peanut butter cannoli for Vier Pogo Squad 51). While walking out, I got a completely unsolicited text from one of my best friends Poodle, who said that they were out of Bud Lime at (you guessed it) the Starlite. He concluded with "I know that it's the last night of the Fair, but still....."
That is EXACTLY my thoughts.
My admission at 7:00 PM on a Sunday night was just as valid as if I came in at 1:00 PM on a Thursday, and I should get all the entitled benefits of that admission (not to sound like Ralphie from the Christmas Story when he was reading the letter that came with his Little Orphan Annie decoder pin, but yeah... )
If I came to the Fair the first Sunday at 9:00 AM, I am sure I could get pancakes. And if I returned that night at 7:00 PM, I could get pork chops on a stick, chocolate cream puffs, Bud Lime, Cherry vanilla milk, etc. So why does my second Sunday admission not offer those?
I am not meaning to solely pick on Starlite. Lots of other businesses were running out of product and had "sold out" on their menu boards, but to run out of three things that me, My-Sugar-Na and Poodle were looking for... three strikes and you're out, Starlite.
Not only am I expressing my disappointment to the 13 wonderful people that read this blog, but I will forward similar comments to the Fair board. There has to be a way to assure that the value of my ticket is constant throughout the full 11 day run. Now, if they wanted to lower the admission price for Sunday evening, that would be a different story. I could see lower admission for lesser offerings. But that's not the way the Fair is currently structured.
Whew, glad to get that off my chest!
As mentioned Saturday (and read the comments to get an idea about how the free market for yard parking works from both the customer and seller's point of view) the second Sunday in 2010 seemed unusually busy, and I mentioned that I didn't think it would be matched this year.
Boy, was I wrong. We parked a total of 27 cars on Sunday, which is actually three more than what was thought to be an anomaly last year. Business was so strong and constant that despite lousy income from lousy weather on Saturday, we missed last year's total income by only $18, and missed our all-time record by $19.
The last car we parked was at 6:15 PM on Sunday, a red Mini Cooper for $3. I don't think I will ever forget that one.